Visits with Don.

Sometimes people ask me why I moved to a small island.

Don is 81 years old and my visits with him are always memorable.

He’s a colorful character who started showing up at the Community Church every once in a while a few years ago. Sometimes he’d drive his 1924 Model-T Ford truck.  His first time in church a proud grandma announced the birth of a grandchild and Don stood up and announced the birth of some new lambs on his farm.

This is what I often refer to as a Northern Exposure moment. They happen a lot.

Don is unflinchingly honest and is the rare person who thinks less highly of himself than he ought to. Maybe in his younger years he was a ne’er do well, but in the four years I’ve known him, I’ve seen acts of kindness pour out of him like sweet, warm syrup onto fresh pancakes.

Today he shared his struggles about the physical balance issues and unsteadiness that have come with old age. He now rides a golf cart when the dogs herd the sheep and also out to the chicken coop where he picks up the fresh eggs.

We talked about the Apostle Paul’s contentment despite his circumstances and his advice to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Honest Don looked at me intently and said, “that’s nice to hear, but does anybody really live that way?”

We talked for about an hour and as I was leaving I prayed with him and then told him I love him. He said, “I love you too,” adding, “that was not part of my vocabulary until a few years ago.”

I said, “Old dogs new tricks,” as in, if you can change at 81 years of age, it isn’t too late for the rest of us.

As I drove out the driveway he stood on the porch waving and yelling, “I love you.”

Sometimes people ask me why I moved to a small island.


Posted in Staublog in June 3, 2011 by | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to Visits with Don.

  1. ST060311 | Dick Staub on June 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    […] Sometimes people ask me why I moved to a small island.  Don is 81 years old and my visits with him are always memorable. Read More. […]

  2. Jessie on June 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Thank you, Don, for teaching us how to build an ever expanding vocabulary!

  3. brad on June 4, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I love your writing, Dick. As a guy in my mid-30s, I’m still asking myself what I want to be when I grow up. And through your insightful words, your gentle spirit, and your profound candour, you are having more of an influence in that regard than you will probably ever know.

    May I be that kind of positive influence to someone else some day.

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